Friday, October 31, 2008

"A person has to know what his function is"

Every individual has a definite function within the people, just as every limb or organ has its function in the body, and one of the chief problems a person has to solve for himself is to know what his function is.

There is the story of the Tzadik who said to a rich, if somewhat stingy, disciple of his entourage:

"You're in great danger."

"Why? asked the disciple.

"Because," said the Tzadik, "every army is composed of many units regiments, platoons, and so forth and if a person takes upon himself to move from one unit to another, he is liable to be punished as a deserter.

And you, who were supposed to belong to the brigade of philanthropists and givers of charity, have deserted to the brigade of Torah scholars."

In many respects a person may be convinced of doing the right thing, but it may not be the right thing for him.

--Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

From The Long Shorter Way, p. 9, by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz